Peter Wolsley is closing in on his 200th Korean winner as Ghost Whisper completed another great weekend for the Aussie trainer by winning the first of co-feature races at Busan today. Following on from his treble on Friday, Wolsley has now saddled 187 winners at the south-coast track.
Ghost Whisper (Gotham City), a 5-year-old grey gelding who had an 8-month lay-off after collapsing with heat exhaustion at the end of last Year’s Busan Metropolitan Stakes, was sent off at little over 2/1 yet, such is Wolsley’s knack at getting his horses into races they can win or place in, he wasn’t even the stable’s first choice. That was the even-money favourite Cheongchun Bulpae (Milwaukee Brew) who had retained jockey Jo Sung Gon on board.
However, Darryll Holland is not a bad jockey to be able to call on to ride your second string and once he had Ghost Whisper in front at the top of the home straight, the result was never in doubt, the grey winning by a comfortable 2 lengths and Cheongchun Bulpae coming home in third.
Ghost Whisper is owned and was bred by Jeju based Pegasus Stables. Under foreign management, Pegasus have been Wolsley’s keenest supporter since his arrival in Korea at the end of 2007 and it was their colt Rumor Has It (Lethal Instrument) that broke his maiden to give Wolsley his first of three winners on Friday. Filly Placid Angel (Menifee) and US import Long Way Baby (Werblin) completing the treble.
Just as Pegasus have supported him, so Wolsley has supported the overseas jockeys who ride at Busan. Ghost Whisper was Darryll Holland’s 9th winner at the track and a great send-off for the British rider, who will pay a flying visit to Royal Ascot this week to partner Monseiur Chevalier who takes on Animal Kingdom in the Queen Anne Stakes on Tuesday.
Wolsley’s win ratio is a solid 16% but his “show” ratio is a remarkable 41% – only Busan’s champion trainer Kim Young Kwan can boast a higher one. Ghost Whisper, decked out with the pacifiers that Wolsley introduced to Korean racing, was winning for the 9th time. Few would bet against his trainer finding another race for him to win soon.
Up at Seoul, the feature race of the day was the MBN Cup and it was old-stager Green Empire (Bertolini) whi took the honours. The New Zealand bred 6-year-old has always been a solid campaigner but a very rare winner. Today, he closed quickly in the final furlong to beat pre-race favourite and last year’s winner Haedongcheonwang (West Acre) to take only his 3rd career win in 34 starts.
Later at Seoul, former top-ranked Korean bred horse Ace Galloper (Chapel Royal) returned to action after a three-month absence. However, he found himself comfortably beaten by Singgeureounachim (Exploit) in a class 1 handicap over 1800 metres. Ace Galloper’s trainer Seo Beom Seok, who was not happy about his horse being forced to carry 61kg, will take up a trainer’s license in Macau. He’ll be hoping the handicapper there is a little more lenient.
Stakes action returns to Seoul next week in the shape of the Sports Seoul Cup.